Tunneling days provides in-depth acquaintance with tunneling process optimization
Sandvik hosted over one hundred customers and stakeholders from around the world at its Tunneling Days from the 7th – 9th June, 2016. The main part of the event took place on the 8th of June at Sandvik's Drilling Technology Center in Tampere – also known among its friends as the 'Center of Gravity'. Here the guests gathered early in the morning to learn about Sandvik's products and the latest news from the tunneling industry.
In order to host its recent Tunneling Days event, the front section of Sandvik's test mine was turned into an auditorium, which proved to be the optimal setting for the theme of the day, optimized tunneling processes. However, as safety is a top priority in all tunneling operations, the Tunneling Day started with a safety brief, followed by a short introduction of the company and its history given by Mr. Timo Laitinen, Vice President, Tunneling, Sandvik Construction. Then, it was time for the grand entrance of the main attraction: the Sandvik DT922i tunneling jumbo which rolled in from the back of its 'home cave' in all of its 30-ton glory for everyone to admire.
Entitled the 'Ultimate All-Rounder', this new, fully automated machine features a wide range of features designed with optimizing the tunneling process in mind. These include the nimble articulated carrier with hydrostatic transmission, the fast and adaptive drilling control, and the multivoltage option. The machine is designed to adapt to changing conditions and work at its best in all of them. Mr. Tommi Salo, Product Line Manager, Tunneling Drills, Sandvik Construction, noted, "The purpose is to destroy rock, not tools and equipment!"
The optimized tunneling process, naturally, stems from efficiency, high productivity and minimized downtime. The Sandvik DT922i aids this as it is equipped with the RD525 rock drill, which has improved penetration rates and possesses a longer tool life compared with its predecessor. Its two accurate SB100i booms have a new easy-to-use control system with three different modes for manual boom control. In addition, all of the jumbo's lights are based on LED technology, which provides significantly longer lifetime and consumes much less energy than HID lights.
As you would expect from Sandvik, the safety and comfort of the operator have also been taken into account. With noise levels below 69 dB, the DT922i has the quietest cabin on the market. The cabin is also spacious thanks to such innovations as having joystick steering instead of a steering wheel and its visibility sector is 25% larger than before. In addition, the state-of-the-art graphic touch screen user interface ensures flawless, intuitive work. All this has been reflected in the feedback received from the first users of this tunneling jumbo. They have given such comments as: "I think the drill rig is more intelligent than I am!" and, "After a workday spent in the new cabin, you still feel fresh!
Getting down to it
The DT922i presentation served as a kick starter for more in-depth acquaintance with various solutions developed to support the optimized tunneling process. At the event, the term 'in-depth' was meant literally with the guests being equipped with safety boots, goggles and helmets, and led to Sandvik's test mine to see some of the innovative new products at home in their natural environment. The crowd was divided into groups of approximately ten people, each with designated hosts. In this way, everyone had the opportunity to ask any and all questions they had regarding the products that most interested them.
Sandvik's unique test mine in Tampere contains a total of 3 km of tunnels and extends 30 meters underground. It is the optimal place for the practical testing of machines – and also for showcasing them. The Tunneling Days' test mine tour took visitors through four different stations and introduced them to a number of products. These included the LH307 loader, the radio-controlled Dino DC400Ri drill rig, DT821 and DT1231 tunneling jumbos, as well as the extremely powerful new DT912D tunneling jumbo.
Additionally the highly advanced, battery trammed DD422iE jumbo demonstrated its agility and maneuverability by easily rolling back and forth over obstacles, controlled by gas pedal only, without using the brakes at all. This jumbo runs on electric energy from an onboard battery, which means that it is 100% emission-free and thus contributes to a healthier and safer work environment. Further enhancing safety, the battery features molten salt technology, which reduces the risk of fire. What is more, these safety improvements have not been achieved at the cost of process optimization: the battery can be recharged in about ten minutes during the drilling cycle by using the mine's existing electric infrastructure. It also recharges when the DD422iE is tramming downhill, using energy generated by the braking system, so even a power outage does not put this jumbo out of action.
Fast and accurate
Ample time was reserved at each station for questions and discussions with Sandvik's specialists presenting the products. The visitors made good use of this opportunity, asked a lot of questions and got thoroughly acquainted with the products that were of particular interest to them, with, the diverse tour offering something particularly interesting for everyone.
One of the most fascinating stations was the scanning and drilling demonstration featuring the iSCAN 3D scanning and navigation system. A true epitome of process optimization, the two scanning units installed onboard the rig are integrated with the iSURE office software providing accurate navigation data. This eliminates the need for separate surveying thereby cutting an entire phase from the process.
The iSCAN system generates a 3D point cloud when the rig is driven to a new tunnel advance. The rock face is like a 'fingerprint', no two surfaces are identical. Each new scan is added to the reference model, which also shows the rigs exact position at accuracy as high as 10 mm. Furthermore, underbreak and overbreak can be identified onboard and corrective actions can be taken immediately instead of separately comparing the actual and theoretical results. In total, using the iSCAN system shortens each drilling cycle by 15 to 30 minutes, which is a massive advantage in a field of operation where time is always of the essence.
All in all, the underground exhibition was an inspiring experience for the visitors. "The test mine is impressive, and it was interesting to see how the machines adapt to the type of rock. I was also very interested in learning about the use of the scanning solution at sites where the type of rock varies," said N'Koni Sumara from Frutiger AG, Switzerland.
New Tunnel Knights
In addition to the test mine exhibition, visitors were also taken on a factory tour and listened to presentations. These consisted of Sandvik's iSURE underground rock excavation software, which has been designed to support process optimization in numerous ways; the geoSURE rock mass analysis tool which provides real-time data onboard the rig, and the 3D scanning system. Further information was available at Sandvik's aftermarket booths set up in the test mine.
To conclude the fascinating day, a dinner was served at Restaurant von Nottbeck, situated in the picturesque Näsilinna building in Tampere. The highlight of the evening was the revival of Sandvik's long-lasting tradition: the knighting of five new Tunnel Knights. Originally created in 1999 as Axera Knights, and renamed in 2006 as Tunnel Knights, this esteemed society upholds the spirit of the best tunnel builder of his day, the honorable Saint Andrea. He established the secret brotherhood for the chosen few who were trusted to build hideaways and escape tunnels for the Pope and other high ranking officials in the Vatican.
Today, Sandvik's Tunnel Knights continue the tradition of helping people in their need to move through mountains and under cities, to be trusted experts and to build the best tunnel ever. "The newly knighted Tunnel Knights were very proud of their new status – and everybody had a good time," says Timo Laitinen, summing up not only the dinner but the entire event.
Local customer focus
As Sandvik did not participate in the Bauma Trade Fair this year various local customer events were arranged in different countries. The Tunneling Days in Finland were intended for an international audience, especially for representatives of regions where no local event had been arranged. The turnout exceeded expectations with a total of 108 guests from 16 countries with representatives from such distant places as Australia, South Korea and India. The biggest groups came from Switzerland, Italy, Austria, and Israel.
"We wanted to introduce Sandvik's latest tunneling products to tunneling contractors from all over the world in our unique test mine. The event was very successful; everything went according to plan and our new products generated a lot of interest among the visitors – and pride among the Sandvik people. We were particularly pleased with the extensive representation of the top management of our new business area, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology. Lars Engström, BA President, Gary Hughes, President, Global Markets, Jan Petzold, PA President, Underground Drilling, Patrick Murphy, PA President, Rock Drills & Technologies, and Joanne Cooke, PA President, Surface Drilling and Exploration, were all present at the event," Timo Laitinen stated.
On the last day of the Tunneling Days, the guests were taken to Helsinki, where they were able to see Sandvik's machines in action at SRV's REDI residential and commercial construction project site. All this made a big impression on the guests. "We received extremely positive feedback about the event from the visitors, and on behalf of the organizers, I can also state that we are very happy about how it went. Sandvik has brilliant products, a unique test mine and a magnificent factory here in Tampere. We should definitely make this kind of a customer event a regular occurrence!" Timo Laitinen concludes.
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